The world is evolving at a superb pace, and some of the things that weren’t in fashion have become bestsellers and trending topics. One of the previously much-maligned art forms is woodworking, and even it has seen a surge in popularity thanks to the advent of technology.
Woodworking isn’t all about getting your hands dirty (even though it’s kinda cool), it’s not all about exerting yourself to incredible levels, and it’s certainly a lot more fun than the naysayers describe it to be.
One of the reasons that the woodworking industry is getting some of the respect it deserves is the advent of sophisticated machines and gadgets that make the work more glamorous. Such gadgets are typically categorized as power tools, and few power tools are as useful as the CNC Machine and its partners in the grind.
Here we will be describing what a CNC Machine does, what it is used for in woodworking, we will also be describing what a 4 axis CNC machine is used for, how it is different than other CNC machines, we will be highlighting the differences between a 3 axis and 4 axis CNC machine.
Also, we’ll list and describe some of the duties a 4 axis CNC machine can perform, and we’ll be rounding up with a few tips on how to get the job done. So without further ado, let’s get to performing the most mundane of woodworking projects with the coolest of the power tools.
The CNC Machine
The computer numerical control machine better known as the CNC machine is a “programmed computer software which directs the motions of plant machinery and tools”. This machine is powered by an application that helps users “automate a range of manufacturing techniques such as milling, water jet cutting, and laser cutting materials”.
All a woodworker or professional handyman needs to do is read the instructions, plug the CNC Machine into a power source, and get to creating the finest woodworks the machine has to offer.
There are a variety of programmed commands on this machine, which are finely set to carry out the most complex of jobs in a matter of minutes. These machines also help do-it-yourself entrepreneurs achieve “expense reduction, improved speed, better accuracy, and enhanced productivity levels”.
CNC machines come in different shapes and sizes, they are also available at different price ranges, meaning that there’s a CNC machine for just about every earning class. CNC operates along with multiple axis points, and these service points determine the type of work the machine can or cannot do. So let’s get to check out the said axis points, shall we?
Types of CNC Machines
The 3 Axis
Using a 3 Axis CNC machine means that “the work piece remains in the same position while the cutting tool operates along the XYZ plane to trim away material”. This machine is one of the most common for a variety of jobs, and the main gigs that this CNC machine can undertake include milling slots, cutting sharp edges, drilling holes, and certainly automatic operations. You can get the 3 Axis CNC machine from your local dealership.
The 4 Axis
Using a 4 Axis instead of a 3 or 5 Axis CNC machine means that “there is an additional rotary movement around the X-axis, which is named the A axis”. Typically, this rotation is pivotal, as it helps the work piece to be cut around the B axis.
The 4 Axis CNC machine has a plethora of uses, but it is most useful when holes need to be made on the sides of a work piece. Adding a fourth axis makes for easy access, as now you can easily flip the woodwork over and proceed to extract material from both sides. The 4 Axis CNC machine is super helpful with engraving, intermittent cutting, and continuous cutting.
The 5 Axis
The 5 Axis CNC Machine is a notch up the previously stated two on this list, as using it means that you can automatically manipulate a workstation from five sides at every given time.
This CNC machine is quite complex, and it is the go-to option for woodworkers that are attempting to make progress in the automobile, aerospace, and boating industries.
This CNC machine is the go-to option for advanced projects, and it isn’t out of the ordinary to say that it is almost exclusively designed for the big boys. It is super accurate, it can cut intricate details, it assures increased productivity, and you’ll get a proper finished product!
Choosing between the 3 Axis and the 4 Axis CNC Machine
CNC machines come in different shapes and sizes, also each of them has the unique features that they are best equipped for. Here we’ll be comparing and contrasting the 3 Axis and the 4 Axis CNC machines, two types that are undoubtedly instrumental in modern woodwork practices.
The 3 Axis
First things first, the 3 Axis CNC machine was the first CNC machine in circulation, hence it’ll certainly be a little outdated compared to the rest. However, the 3 Axis is pretty useful, as it ensures that “the work piece remains still while the cutting tool moves along the 3 axes to mill the part”.
Also, it is pretty simple to operate this machine, hence its popularity amongst rookies and people that are just getting into the game. The 3 Axis CNC machine should do the trick if you’re looking to complete a simple project, as it assures you basic accuracy, proper efficiency, and a few unique designs that you can utilize for your craft.
The 4 Axis
The 4 Axis CNC machine on the other hand is an entirely different story, thanks to its advanced features and a host of other possibilities. The 4 Axis does everything a 3 Axis can do, and it adds more to the equation. Here milling is performed on an additional axis, making for increased specialization.
One of the biggest pros of the 4 Axis CNC machine is that it is super useful “when holes and cut-outs need to be made in the side of a piece or around a cylinder, as they guarantee a quick and efficient work based on computer numerical inputs for supremely accurate results”!
3 Axis and 4 Axis CNC machines are remarkably similar, with the major advantage being that extra axis being added, as it can be the difference between a basic and advanced woodworking endeavor.
Some of the Duties a 4 Axis CNC Machine Performs
4 Axis CNC machines are a notch higher than their 3 Axis counterparts, and that’s super apparent in the advanced duties they perform. Such duties include but aren’t limited to:
Engraving Curved Surfaces
Engraving is one of the coolest parts of woodworking, as this is the major thing that distinguishes art from ART. 4 Axis CNC machines are well crafted to offer an array of engraving options, and the engraving would add value to your curved surfaces.
This is something that even the most illustrious of 3 Axis CNC machines can’t perform, so it might be time to upgrade your tool if you ask us.
It’s not that the 3 Axis CNC machine doesn’t offer cutting services, but the fact remains that the 4 Axis takes this cutting business a notch higher, up to the intermittent level. Here you can cut your woodworks to the size of your desire, you can artistically craft it to your heart’s content, and to top it off, you’ll be getting a next-level finished product.
Last but not least on the duties of the 4 Axis CNC machine is the continuous cutting it assures. With this advanced power tool, you don’t have to worry about continuous resetting, as all you need to do is place your work piece in its position, and the rest will take care of itself. All you need to do is replace the work piece from time to time, and you’re all set for the long run.
The CNC Machine you’ll go for depends on a plethora of reasons, and there’s no one size fits all approach that’ll put an end to the debate. If you are looking for something simple, basic, but can still do the job, then you should purchase the 3 Axis.
If you are looking for something a little more versatile, a tad costlier, and a breath of fresh air then you should cop the 4 Axis. But if you’re looking for something that’ll get all the work done but is way more expensive than the initial two, then you’ll be better off buying the 5 Axis.
The reason why we love the 4 Axis so much is that it hits a sweet spot in between the other two types. You’ll be getting fantastic value for money, you’ll be doing less handwork, and you’ll surely enjoy your woodworking career. There’s so much to unlock, and it’s only going to get better!